This week, I wanted to make a post a day, Monday to Sunday, containing a list about something. I was going to base it on the Listers Gotta List challenge list for this week, but those prompts are all about summer things, and it’s not very summery here! So I thought I’d make up my own prompts on the fly.
But then I had a crappy day yesterday and I didn’t have any brain power left to come up with a prompt or write a post, so I’m starting today. I’ll still aim to post seven list posts this week though.
So, onto my first list!
A few days ago, Ruth wrote a post asking people what energises them at work, because she’s thinking about how she can get her own energy levels up. At the time, I thought this was a great topic and I planned to respond, but it feels even more important right now because I’m in the final phase of a research project and I’m flagging. And I really can’t flag right now, because the deadline for pulling it all together is only nine days away. And there’s still a lot to do.
Here’s 10 things that energise me at work.
- Starting things. I love to start new things but I don’t love finishing them. I am not good at the back end of a project. Need ideas? I’m your girl. But I’m certainly not your girl if you’re looking for a completer-finisher. I can do it, and I do get stuff done, but I have to do deals with myself and engage in some stern self talk to get stuff done.
- Shiny things (aka distractions). I’m easily distracted but I draw energy from the things that I see out of my peripheral vision that grab my attention. The promise of opportunities, new things (ideas, tech, projects, possibilities), learning, conversations. I often think I need to put blinkers on and stop noticing all the shiny things so I can get stuff done, but when I do that – when I force myself to be really focused – I slump.
- Teaching. Going into a class, my energy is often low. As an introvert, it can be overwhelming to think I’ve got three hours of constant engagement with people ahead of me. But the conversations I have with my students, watching them make connections, seeing them progress… Those things do energise me, even though they are tough for my inner introvert. I leave classes talking and thinking at break neck speed, and when I teach at night, I’m grateful for the time my commute gives me to wind down.
- Being under pressure. I operate best when I’m under pressure. It gives me energy and pushes me forward.
- Buzz around me. I’m really affected by the energy around me. A noisy, energy filled office gives me energy. This is an ironic thing to have on my list because my office is deathly silent, all the time. It really saps my energy.
- Working independently, together. Sometimes I’ll spend time working in a collaborative space with a colleague or two. For example, on Sunday, a couple of colleagues and I spent the day in the office, working in our meeting room. We did some pomodoros, working fast and hard, then stopping and chatting.
- Being creative. It’s really important that I have opportunities to be creative and to make beautiful things. I try to find little opportunities to be creative every day. Making graphics for my teaching sites or creating pretty slide decks gives me a creative fix.
- Talking / debating / arguing about ideas. We’re working on establishing a domain of research and some related concepts, and every now and then, we’ll stop and have a conversation about definitions, what these things are and aren’t, and how they relate to other concepts. It’s all so new that there aren’t any fixed answers and we’ll often get into some quite heated debate and I really love it. I love the banter and the back and forth. I love how it pushes my thinking forward.
- Seeing others succeed. My colleagues, people I’ve been informally mentoring, my students, graduates… I love watching the people around me succeed and I enjoy contributing to or supporting their success.
- Concerts in my car. I’ve always had a habit of listening to dance music really, really loud on the way to work. It psychs me up and gets me ready to smash it out when I get to work. I’ve done this since my retail days, when I really needed the music high to set me up for a day of selling, or standing around on the shop floor, looking for things to do to make the day go faster. I no longer need to look for things to make the day go faster, but if I’m not in a great mood, I’ll have a car concert on the way to work and it always helps me start the day well.
What about you? What energise you at work?
And now I’m off to have a concert in my lounge room, seeing it’s a work from home day!